Inclusive Publishing Seasonal Survey 2018

Silhouette of a tree with colored clipart icons on the branches. The icons denote different types of survey and assesment images which are purely decorativeAs we rapidly approach the end of 2018, it’s the perfect time for us all to reflect on the progress we have made as a global industry in our work towards publications that can be enjoyed by all readers. Our short survey should only take a few minutes to complete and will allow us to share a snapshot of the community in the new year, as well as make progress towards identifying gaps in the current solutions, be they informational, technical, training provision or reference.

The survey can be accessed here —it is intended for publishing organizations. If you are not actively publishing content in digital formats we thank you for visiting, but ask that you do not complete this survey – we look forward to hearing your views another time and always welcome comments and suggestions though our Contact Form.

We very much value your contribution, and respect your privacy. No identifiable information you submit about yourself or your organization will ever be published or shared in any way.

Thank you once again for your participation. We look forward to sharing a general summary of responses on the Inclusive Publishing website in the new year.

OZeWAI 2018 Conference Highlights

ozewai logoThe OZeWAI 2018 conference, hosted by the ABC in Sydney, has now ended and a great time was had by all. The three-day event is held every year as Australia’s dedicated national conference for digital access specialists and is renowned for its great community atmosphere and presentations with this year being no exception. Here’s some of my personal highlights from the three days.

The keynote was delivered remotely by Nic Steen out from Knowbility titled No Rights, No Responsibility. The speaker made the point that it is important to ensure that people with disability are included in the digital access processes and that training is critical in making sure that effective digital access is achieved.  

Another great presentation was Here comes WCAG 2.1! by Amanda Mace from Web Key IT and Julie Grundy from Intopia. There was some great discussion across the new WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria, explaining the importance of things like reflow and ensuring that content on mobile devices needs to work effectively for people that may not be able to move their device to activate various sensors. With this year marking the WCAG 2.1 release it was a great introduction as to how the new extensions build on the legacy WCAG 2.0 requirements.   

Scott Hillier on the podiumJust before the lunch break on the first day it was my turn to present, discussing the W3C work on inaccessible CAPTCHA. In the presentation I talked about how traditional CAPTCHAs such as the use of text on bitmapped images and audio-based CAPTCHAs are not only inaccessible but also not secure. I also provided an update on the advice our group has been putting together as part of the CAPTCHA advisory note. It was great to have a chance to share the information.


Another session that I really enjoyed was Andrew Downie’s presentation titled The Graphics Divide – When the alt Attribute does not Suffice. I’m frequently asked in workshops as to what is best practice when using alternative text, and Andrew illustrated the point well using popular landmarks and providing relevant text descriptions. The key takeaway from his talk is that it’s relatively easy to use alternative text for WCAG compliance, but that doesn’t mean it’s accessible.

Greg Alchin on the podiumA presenter I always enjoy is Greg Alchin, and he did a great job in discussing the importance of ePub. In a PDF-obsessed world, Greg made the point well that there are a lot of tools and readers available to make the most of the ePub format which is essentially web pages compiled into a document format. While there’s still no WYSIWYG editor that works well for the ePub format and this was a point acknowledged as a current restriction, it’s encouraging to hear that there are plans for it to be included in the Office suite in the future which will go a long way to addressing this issue. Greg’s presentation is available on YouTube.

On the second day I featured in a second presentation hosted by Sean Murphy from Cisco Systems whereby we discussed the accessibility implications of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. When Sean invited me to join him, he said it’d be great to structure it like a fireside chat, so we had an agreement whereby he would bring the questions, and I would bring the fire. As such, I had my laptop next to me playing a YouTube video of ‘HD fireplace with crackle’ while we discussed the implications. Sean made several great points about how the quality of data will heavily determine the effectiveness of our AI perceptions and how issues such as security still have a long way to go. I also talked about my Curtin research as it related to the IoT needs of students in tertiary education.

The last presentation that really had an impact on me was Making Chatbots Accessible by Ross Mullen. Until this presentation I had always assumed that chat boxes were largely a no-go zone for accessibility, but Ross explained that if an effort is made then both conversational support and accessibility can be achieved.

In addition to the presentations it was also great to catch up with lots of familiar faces at the breaks and conference dinners. I also really enjoyed making new friends and meeting many of the Alumni from the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility course.

Special thanks to the OZeWAI committee for putting on such a great conference. If you were unable to get to OZeWAI, you and watch all the session recordings which are now available on YouTube.

This post has been cross-posted with the permission of the author, Dr Scott Hollier, Digital Access Specialist, Author and Lecturer. The original posting of this article is available via Scott’s consultancy website.

Images have been reproduced from the OZeWAI twitter account.

EPUBCheck Intermediate 4.1 Release

A maintenance release of EPUBCheck—version 4.1.0— has been published by the DAISY Consortium which includes various improvements and bug fixes that have been contributed and reported over the past two years. EPUBCheck, the conformance validator for the EPUB format, is open source software, maintained by the DAISY Consortium for the W3C. For full details of what is included in this release visit the EPUBCheck release page.

Inclusive Publishing also published details of the EPUBCheck development work as it began and this news piece is still available for our readers.

The Big 5 US Higher Ed Publishers are Going All-In on Accessibility

AHG conference logo with conference details listed underneath the image of a mountain

I had the pleasure of organizing a session at the 21st Accessing Higher Ground conference in Denver in mid-November—a conference that is attended by a lot of folks from Disability Services Offices (DSOs) from across the US—to help those folks realize how much the big higher education publishers are doing to make their resources accessible, with a focus on accessible EPUBs.

“Born Accessible” is getting closer to the new normal!

The publishers on my panel were from Cengage, Macmillan Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson and Wiley, and they all had compelling stories to tell. While I don’t have space here to get into everything they had to say (the consolidated presentation is available here), the message was clear: they are not just working hard on accessibility, they’re getting it done. All of them are producing new resources as accessible EPUBs that align with the EPUB Accessibility 1.0 specification.

That means alt text—good alt text, done with an understanding of the nuances required to get it right—and in many cases extended descriptions of complex graphics as well. All of them are ensuring proper structuring and navigation. For resources that include media, most are providing closed captioning and transcripts. And those with math are providing MathML. They’re even working hard to get their tables right!

Cengage Learning logoBut it’s more than just the products themselves. The corporate cultures need to be accessibility aware. Cengage, for example, is putting a major focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL), including a significant staffing commitment: a Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies is already on board, and an Accessibility/UDL Specialist and an Accessibility/UDL Coordinator are soon to be named.

Macmillan learning logo

Macmillan Learning’s presentation was all about the people and the processes, with a realization that just providing specs and expecting vendors to get it right is not sufficient. They have established a wealth of initiatives to foster knowledge of accessibility throughout their organization, with training and workshops that include vendors, creating a judgment free space to encourage motivation, participating in industry events and organizations, building a testing center in-house, and establishing an Advisory Board and Student Focus Groups to involve their constituents.

McGraw Hill Education logo

McGraw-Hill provided an in-depth look at the specifics, detailing both alternative text and extended descriptions not just for alignment but as captions and transcripts for audio and video content, enforcing contrast specs in their designs, use of MathML, using language tags at the page and phrase levels, and even tackling proper structuring of tables.

Pearson logoPearson stressed their end-to-end commitment to accessibility for both their content and platforms, all based on WCAG 2.0 AA conformance and alignment with EPUB Accessibility 1.0. They are putting a special priority on making these accessible resources easy for students to obtain and use, through initiatives like their partnership with VitalSource to establish the Pearson Accessibility Store, all resources of which are guaranteed to be accessible, and partnerships with Kurzweil and T-Base to integrate well with those key technologies.

Wiley logoWiley is doing all these good things too. (They came last due to alphabetical order.) They are addressing accessibility not just for going-forward content, but for legacy content as well, and expanding into other business areas outside of higher ed. Because of the diversity and technical nature of much of their content, they are working on discipline-specific alt text guidelines. And like several of the other speakers, they mentioned that they are working with Benetech on their Global Certified Accessible program, expecting to be certified this summer.

The message was clear: these folks are working hard on accessibility, and many of their products and platforms are much more accessible than students and DSOs realize. They’re doing this by aligning with standards and taking advantage of the right resources, like Ace by DAISY and the Accessible Publishing Knowledge Base. “Born Accessible” is getting closer to the new normal!

This event report was kindly submitted by Bill Kasdorf, Principal, Kasdorf & Associates

Call for Nominations: Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award 2019

ABC is now inviting nominations for the 2019 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial ebooks or other digital publications for persons who are print disabled. Two awards will be presented, one to a publisher and one for an initiative.

You may nominate either your own organization/company or a third party anywhere in the world, and ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals based in developing or least developed countries. The two awardees will be presented with trophies at the annual awards event held at the London Book Fair on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Please submit your application by Thursday, January 10, 2019 through the London Book Fair site.

Funka Accessibility Days

April 9th to 10th, 2019

Funka Accessibility Days is northern Europe’s largest conference on accessible ICT. As usual, an exciting program awaits delegates with plenary sessions on regulations, legislation and standardisation at national and international level. There are also have parallel sessions where you can concentrate on content, design, navigation, and how visitors perceive information. Or you can focus on technology, developer issues, testing tools and assistive technology. Registration is now open and early bird pricing is in effect.


April 9-10, 2019


Stockholm, Sweden

Learn More

For full details on 2019’s conference and how you can register, visit the Funka Days website

CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, 2019

March 11th to 15th, 2019

The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference will be held in March this year and it promises to be as exceptional as ever. More than 5,000 people gathered last year to explore new technologies designed to assist people with disabilities.​ Registration begins on January 8, 2019 and of particular interest to inclusive publishing readers are the following sessions:

  • Accessibility Initiatives and Commitments from Major Higher Ed Publishers—March 13, 10.00am
  • EPUB 101: Essential briefing for all higher education professionals—March 14, 2.20pm
  • Using Microsoft Word to author accessible EPUB 3 publications—March 14, 3.20pm
  • Telling Images: The FOCUS/LOCUS Method for Accessible Image Description—March 14, 3.20pm


March 11-15, 2019


Anaheim, California

Learn More

For further information and registration details visit the CSUN Conference website or review the complete list of sessions.

ebookcraft 2019

March 18th to 19th, 2019

ebookcraft is a two-day conference dedicated to ebook production—if you’re looking for a mix of practical tips and forward-thinking inspiration, you won’t want to miss it.The main conference day for ebookcraft 2019 will be held on Tuesday, March 19 with workshops on Monday, March 18. for the #eprdctn crowd for whom this conference is designed.

Early bird pricing is available until January 25, 2019 and newsletter updates are also available. Check back here for program highlights for the inclusive publishing community, as they are released by the organizers.


March 18-19, 2019


Toronto, Canada

Learn More

To access registration and conference details visit the ebookcraft website.

Futurebook 2018

November 30th, 2018

Europe’s biggest publishing innovation conference is on a mission to put a sparkling rocket of creativity and courage up the book trade. FutureBook Live will bring three “electrifying” strands of content to delegates, encouraging them to “provoke, predict and play” with the future. Inclusive Publishing readers will be interested in the session “Build Better Ebooks” being delivered by Nick Barreto, Co-Founder and Technology Director of Canelo. In this article, Nick explains his approach to making ebooks and why accessibility is so important at Canelo.


Nov 30th, 2018


London, U.K.

Learn More

For full details of the program and details on how to register visit the Futurebook website

Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference 2019

January 29th to 30th, 2019

The ATIA conference is an extensive assistive technology conference showcasing international excellence in the field. With 350+ sessions covering 10 topic strands the program is varied and exciting.


Jan 29-30, 2019


Orlando, Florida

Learn More

Registration and conference details are available at the ATIA website